Comprising of a great majority of the people, the Kenyan youth have been greatly factorwd in the changes anticipated through the Building Bridges Initiative. Factoring in that the youth make 20 per cent of all Kenyans, the country’s youth population is made up of over 9.5 million people.
Through the initiative, youth matters revolving around businesses, are set to benefit financially as the BBI has put into consideration Youth starting micro and medium-sized enterprises as they will be granted a tax holiday alongside other incentives to expand business opportunities and innovation. This will go a long way in reducing youth unemployment, crime and even improve the general social fabric of the society
Having read and understood the report many youth have taken it upon themselves to educate their counterparts on the Initiative and it’s benefits. With assured peace, stability and premised on unity, the youth have taken it upon themselves to educate their peers and even the elderly on the benefits of the BBI. This is so because inclusivity is also among the key pillars of the report.
Futuristic and set to benefit generations,young people starting small businesses will be allowed to operate for seven years without paying taxes. This is meant to empower the youth through self employment and job creation, and will mainly cover micro and medium-sized enterprises with the tax holiday coming alongside other incentives to expand business opportunities and innovation.
The BBI report is an opportunity for growth of the youth that will have a ripple effect to the society and generations to come.
The Kenya National Safety Net Programme (NSNP) has listed a number of successes since the scheme
was rolled out to empower the elderly and vulnerable members of society with cash.
Before introducing a national safety net program, Kenya was experiencing a high incidence of poverty around 46.6 % poverty rate. Poverty was also intertwined with higher inequality and vulnerability to shocks, the most significant of which was recurring droughts.
Cash transfer programs were fragmented and uncoordinated with different implementation arrangements leading to a variety of inefficiencies and duplication. The governance and fiduciary controls were also weak due to gaps in the quality of delivery systems across all programs.
However, as the programme commonly referred as Inua Jamii anticipates universal coverage for some of its projects, the government must consider addressing challenges that hindered penetration and service delivery for more deserving persons.
So far, the project has reached more than a million citizens who receive cash from the programmes and
the number is expected to double once the government starts to automatically credit money bimonthly
to citizens aged above 70 years.
The programmes include the Older Persons Cash Transfer (OPCT), the Cash Transfer for Orphans and
Vulnerable Children (CT–OVC) and the Persons with Severe Disability Cash Transfer (PWSD-CT) which are managed by the department of Social Protection, while the Ministry of Devolution also runs the Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP).
While the programmes have improved the living standards of the poor and vulnerable, they now face a
number of systemic and operational challenges which must be tackled with urgency. First, the government needs to foster transparency in the identification and registration of beneficiaries. For instance, after expanding reach for OPCT, some unscrupulous State officials involved in the registration of the beneficiaries were accused of listing non deserving individuals. This must stop!
The government must also act on claims that some persons could be benefiting from more than one scheme, denying some deserving cases. The government must audit all the programmes and ensure only deserving cases benefit. It must then establish a foolproof system to identify and register beneficiaries based on official documentations with authentication from both government officials and the local community.
A system that captures all the information including when the beneficiaries die or exit such programmes must be maintained. Hopefully, the effort by the government to harmonise and consolidate the schemes into a single registry under the social protection programme will weed out fraud. More importantly, the government must ensure information reaches the targeted population for registration since majority of the citizens are scattered in rural areas and urban slums where penetration might be difficult.
Finally, the government should make it much easier for beneficiaries to access the cash by ensuring the financial institutions that remits the money have paying points as close as possible to beneficiaries.
Let us start from the premise of a popular saying that sex and money make the world go round. Really, one can hardly argue with that assertion, unless one is a eunuch or is totally sexually inhibited due to any other reason.
Simply, sex sells, and it sells big time! In more licentious societies particularly in the West, sex is a multi-billion dollar industry accruing from the sale of related audio-visual materials and paraphernalia. Therefore, it is a high time we stopped the pretence and discussed this issue from a human perspective.
The issue of sexual offences came up recently during the ongoing interviews for the position of the Chief Justice (CJ) by the Judicial Service Commission when Justice Said Juma Chitembwe was put to task over his freeing of Martin Charo, 24, who had been sentenced to 20 years in prison for having sex with a 13-year-old girl. He said that the child appeared “willing to have sex with the defendant”.
I would hate to be in Justice Chitembwe’s shoes. But it takes a man of valour like Chitembwe to stand up for reason even when he is bludgeoned by popular opinion. That is really, in my view, the mark of a CJ! Now, it is one thing for an adult to take advantage of a girl below the age of legal consent.
That should be punished severely. But what do you do when two ‘consenting’ minors are caught in the act? Do you jail both of them or, throw the male child under the bus while the acquiescent girl, sometimes the aggressor, goes scot-free? Truth be told, even those making some of these draconian and unrealistic laws against sexuality, were deflowered before the age of adulthood. Whether that was a good or bad thing is another matter best left to the moralists and individuals to grapple with.
The point is that the road to that first time is fraught with risky but sometimes unavoidable temptations. More often than not, it is consummated at the spur of the moment. I cannot put it any better than High Court Judge Luka Kimaru who recently addressed this matter comprehensively in a media con ference. While the judge duly noted that the Sexual Offences Act 2006 was progressive at the time of its enactment, it is important to review it now so as to make it compatible to current realities and dynamics.
Teenage sex has increased tremendously and, by the look of things, will stay this way for some time. The days of abstention and scare of hell are long gone as social media glorifies sex in almost all platforms. During the days of my generation’s adolescence, consensual sex between teenagers was also rife.
Those who were found out were dealt with at the family level through punishment and counsel. Sadly, these days parents have apparently given up and left teenagers to their own devices. No one is advocating for men to be given a blank cheque to indulge their testosterone driven desires of their bodies. That is the prerogative of the caveman. However, we should always remain cognizant of the fact that nature dictates men will always make the first move in relationships.
The narrative that men cannot propose to a woman in a sexual context is very unfortunate and unrealistic. How will our young men get spouses if we legislate against sexual advances, which is predominantly a male pursuit?
Of course, this has to happen within legal confines to avoid criminality, but inside the boundaries of common decency, culture and religion as well. It will be sad day when men are pushed to the wall, leaving them with no choice in pursuing their sexual attractions in order to avoid falling into legal pitfalls that criminalise their advances to women.
A majority of Kenyans love the rural areas and have for years enjoyed its tranquility, the fresh environment free of noise but loathed one thing, having no access to electricity, no power to charge phones or even listen to the local radio that was at least reachable. This in most instances forced people to close business way earlier than usual as it was considered not safe to be outside when dark. Likewise, villages used to go completely dark even as early as 7 o’clock with a long night awaited ahead. The nights were just too dark.
Fortunately, when President Uhuru Kenyatta came in to power back in 2013, there was a major turnaround in the Energy sector as far as access to electricity is concerned. The President understanding the situation Kenyans were faced with, channeled his energies on attaining universal access to electricity. Initially, only 4.5 million Kenyan households had access to electricity and was a figure way below what is considered optimum level. However, this took a major turnaround after President Uhuru Kenyatta came into power in 2013 as this figure has witnessed a more than 50% growth in the figures which has seen approxinmately 8 million Kenyan households have access to electricity.
This has brought great development in the rural towns and villages including increasing more hours of businesses, improved security through lighting of streets, students are able to do their studies at night and thereby improving themselves. This has greatly accelerated the growth of small businessess and been one of the enablers in the implementation of devolution when it comes to economic growth and development of counties.
Under the Last Mile Connectivity project, Kenya has had a 116 per cent jump in electricity connection with 4.89 million households having access to electricity from 2.26 million in March 2013 and growing to the aforementioned 8 million Kenyan households thus depicting steady growth in lighting up the country.
Moreover, streets in our estates, feeder roads and informal settlements have had the areas lit up by street lights in what has enhanced security.
Basically, there has been a progressive move in electricity connection especially throughout the country that many Kenyans can attest to. This among other areas has demonstrated President Kenyatta’s commitment in improving key areas that facilitate growth in the country. As at 2018, 78% of Kenyans had access to electricity and the number has since gone up.
Somalia’s Mohamed Farmaajo, whose term expired on February 8, continues to ignore the writings on the wall. And as things go, there may be a small window left to rescue both his career and the destiny of Somalia.
On Tuesday, the latest ominous sign came from a grouping of Hawiye clan members and professionals. Gathering in Mogadishu, they withdrew support for Farmaajo, expressing fury at his decisions to assent to the term extension motion of parliament.
A voice emerged from 400 delegates of Mogadishu’s most prominent clan with interests in politics and businesses which means they have sufficient influence in the capital. The participants include two ex-Presidents, a former PM, opposition and youth leaders as well as other special interest groups.
Well, some have argued perhaps correctly that the clan as a unit of politics in Somalia may be behind the perennial chaos.
But Somalia’s nascent democracy borrows from its culture and history, which means that every son and daughter the clans have brought up to serve their country considers their class as the basic politics. It is the way Somalis have organized themselves for centuries and it is why we cannot throw away the bathwater with the baby.
This is why the clan, no matter its shortcomings in other times, will remain influential in Somali politics and any leader who ignores it perishes politically. For the Hawiye specifically, their influence in Mogadishu means that any changes in the political stability of the country affect them directly and their influence in Mogadishu means that ay changes in the political stability of the country affect them directly and their displeasure simply means one bigger door has been slammed in Farmaajo’s face.
There have been other protestants more directly from Farmaajo’s rival in the presidential contest. This week the National Salvation Forum warned of political instability as the term extension goes on. And Presidents of Galmudung, Hirshabelle And South West have recently come under pressure from their own clans to clarify their positions. The donors and partners have all rejected the extensions and warned of a reevaluation of the relationship, including suspension of crucial programs in security and humanitarian sectors.
Yet even in the glare of these warnings, President Farmaajo has chosen to go on a charm offensive seeking the African Union’s hand to endorse his ill-thought and controversial term extension.
He did not read between the lines when after meeting President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo, he was told that Somalia must pursue its own consensus to avert a crisis. Mr. Tshisekedi the current chairman of the African Union agreed to support dialogue in Somalia an indication that the continental body is willing to step in.
But everybody knows Farmaajo’s game plan is to get an endorsement from the AU to sanitize his political dirt. Earning from his friends in Ethiopia, Farmaajo knows he can seek the involvement of the African Union because the body itself is flawed in operation: all leaders have hidden behind Article 4(g) of the AU Constitutive Act on “non-interference in internal matters” of members.
In short, he can reduce the continental body into spectators just as the neighbors did with the Tigray region.
This is not to say the AU is a useless organization. In fact, Somalia has a lot to thank the AU for having created the AU Mission in Somalia which has been guarding Farmaajo and his palace, the Villa Somalia.
We fear that Farmaajo has shown sufficient hypocrisy in the past. On one day he insists on sovereignty when critics pour in while on the other hand when he is facing local turmoil he rushes to the AU for help.
The flip-flopping is meant to waste time and the best thing Farmaajo can do is to resume talks which will be the surest way to ending this fiasco.